Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Centers of Excellence in Maternal Health Research
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
June 03, 2022
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
July 25, 2022
First Estimated Application Due Date:
November 30, 2022
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
July 03, 2023
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
July 03, 2023
Related Announcements


Issued by

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)


As part of the Implementing a Maternal health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, on behalf of the NIH Maternal Mortality Task Force, intends to promote a new initiative by publishing Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) to solicit applications to establish a national network of Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence. The collaborative FOAs will conduct research to mitigate preventable maternal mortality (MM), decrease severe maternal morbidity (SMM), and promote health equity.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.

This FOA will utilize the U24 activity code for the research resource Hub and the U54 activity code for the Research Centers of Excellence. The FOAs are anticipated to be published in late Spring or early Summer 2022 with an expected application due date in Fall 2022. Details of the planned initiative are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

The collaborative Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence FOAs represent one part of the multipronged Implementing a Maternal health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative launched by the NIH in response to the rising rates of MM in the U.S. Over the past 25 years, the MM rate has more than doubled in the U.S. and is now higher than any high-income country in the world. Approximately 700 women die each year from conditions related to or associated with pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, severe maternal morbidities affect more than 65,000 women in the U.S. per year. Women experiencing SMM are at increased risk for future adverse health (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, dementias, mental health conditions, strokes, and heart disease). High rates of maternal deaths disproportionately affect Black/African American and American Indian/Alaska Native women. There are also disparities by age, education, socioeconomic status, and geographic region.

One-third of pregnancy-related deaths occur during pregnancy, one-third occur during or in the week after delivery, and one third occur between one week to one year postpartum. Causes of SMM and MM are multifaceted. In the U.S., the leading causes are cardiovascular disease, infection, hypertensive disorders, thromboembolism, and hemorrhage. Significant contributing factors include comorbid conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, mental illness, and substance use disorders) and social determinants of health, which include structural racism and health care system factors. It is estimated that 60 to 70 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable.

This Notice encourages multidisciplinary investigators with expertise in developing and testing strategies to address preventable contributors to SMM and MM in under-represented minority populations and proficiency in conducting novel systems research investigating health care and community-partnered approaches to maternal wellbeing to consider working with their relevant institutions to apply for this new FOA.

Projects must include a focus on one or more populations that experience maternal health disparities, such as underrepresented racial and ethnic communities (including but not limited to Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders), socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, underserved rural populations (e.g., living in obstetrical deserts), sexual and gender minority groups, or persons with disabilities. In addition to scientific diversity, applicants must incorporate diversity in their team development plan. Please refer to Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-20-031, for more details.

The planned U24 Hubs will serve as an indispensable research resource where data collected from the IMPROVE Centers of Excellence initiative, and possibly other IMPROVE initiatives, can be aggregated, accessed, analyzed, and shared within and across Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence.

Funding Information


Estimated Total Funding


Expected Number of Awards
Estimated Award Ceiling


Primary Assistance Listing Number(s)


Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)
State Government
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
County governments
Independent school districts
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization (Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
U.S. Territory or Possession
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Regional Organization
Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government

Applications are not being solicited at this time.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Nahida Chakhtoura, M.D.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)